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Company of Proprietors of the Stainforth and Keadby Canal Navigation


Records of the Company of Proprietors of the Stainforth and Keadby Canal Navigation: maps and plans of the intended canal 1792-1793.



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Access Status

These records are available immediately for research

Administrative /‚Äč Biographical history

The idea of connecting the Don Navigation with the Trent was formed in 1763 when James Brindley advised on the estimated cost. The matter was revived again in 1772, probably due to the proposed canal to Barnsley coalfields. The engineer of the Don, John Thompson completed a survey from Stainforth Lock on the Don to Althorpe on the Trent above Keadby. No further action was taken. In 1792 further surveys were undertaken by John Thompson and Robert Mylne. In 1793 the Act passed authorizing a canal from the River Don Navigation cut near Stainforth to the Trent near Keadby with a branch from Thorne to the Don at Hangsman Hill, this, however, was never to be built. John Thompson was in charge of construction until his death in 1795 when he was taken over by Daniel Servant. The canal was inspected by Robert Whitworth in 1795. The canal was opened in about 1802 and was 12 3/4 miles long with entrance locks at Thorne and Keadby. Mylne had advised the construction of a large Keadby lock 81 feet by 22 1/2 feet for ships of up to 200 tons capacity. All the bridges were a swivel type to take rigged craft. On the opening of the canal, Keadby became a calling place for the sailing packets that ran from Gainsborough to Hull. Steam arrived with a vengeance in 1818. From 1815 until at least 1839 a horse passenger packet ran on the canal between Thorne and Keadby to connect with the Trent steam services. During the early 19th century the canal ran smoothly, except when threatened by other canals. An example of this was the Trent and Balby Canal in 1828, which was to run from Stockwith on the Trent to Doncaster on the Don. In 1836 the Don shareholders agreed to go ahead with the building of a new cut from Stainforth to Swinefleet on the Ouse below Goole. To create this cut the Don wanted two miles of the Stainforth and Keadby Canal. This was strongly opposed by the Stainforth and Keadby so the Don compromised and offered to buy the Stainforth and Keadby Canal. Although the sale was agreed in 1837, it fell through. This did not sway the Don. In 1849 a lease was arranged to be followed by a purchase. Along with the Dearne and Dove, the canal became part of the South Yorkshire & River Dun Company in 1850. Later Stainforth and Keadby history is integral with that of the Don, and with the Don in 1895 it became part of the Sheffield & South Yorkshire Navigation. For further information on the Stainforth and Keadby Canal see Edward Paget-Tomlinson's 'The Illustrated History of Canals & River Navigations' and Charles Hadfield's 'The Canals of Yorkshire and North East England'.

System of arrangement

It has not been possible to ascertain any original structure of record-keeping from the small number of records held for this company. The fonds has therefore been arranged in chronological order.

Associated material

[See also BW17]